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Russia calls for direct talks between Syrian opponents


Russia on Tuesday called for the opposing sides in the Syrian peace talks to negotiate directly, APA reports quoting Anadolu agency.

 

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said: “Direct talks, that is what we [have been] calling for from the very beginning. Unfortunately, this has not happened until now.”

 

Gatilov, whose government supports Bashar al-Assad’s regime, is expected to meet the opposition delegation on Wednesday in Geneva. He said he would listen to the opposition’s view of the current situation.

 

On Monday, Nasr al-Hariri, the head of the opposition delegation, said he recognized the “openness” of Russian officials in their approach to discussions.

 

The latest round of talks to find a resolution to the six-year conflict began on Thursday last week following the suspension of negotiations last April.

 

Both sides were in the same room on the opening day to hear the UN envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura call for an end to the war. “The Syrian people desperately want an end to this conflict and you all know it,” he said. “You are the first ones to tell us it.”

 

However, the opposing delegations are yet to talk face-to-face.

 

Gatilov said Moscow was open to discussion with the U.S. over Syria.

 

“We are open in all context with the American administration and we always were constructive in finding possible ground for our common cooperation, first of all, in the fight against terrorism in Syria,” he said.

 

President Donald Trump’s policy on Syria remains unclear.

 

Since civil war erupted in March 2011, more than 250,000 people have been killed, according to the UN. However, the Syrian Center for Policy Research puts the death toll at more than 470,000.

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